Google launches platform for wearables

Software giant Google has extended its Android mobile platform to support wearable devices. The Android Wear extension is intended to bring a common user experience and a developer platform to wearable devices.

Google is also inviting software developers to sign up to use the alpha version of its SDK, the Android Wear Developer Preview. The current Android Wear Developer Preview is intended for development and testing purposes only, said Google. The firm added that it may change the Developer Preview significantly prior to the official release of the Android Wear SDK.

The Developer Preview includes new application programming interfaces (APIs) which allow developers to customise and extend app notifications to accept voice replies and feature additional pages.

Devices powered by Android Wear are able to respond to voice-activated commands to provide information, the company said. In addition Android app notifications will appear on the wearable devices.

The Broadband World Forum is taking place on the 21st – 23rd October 2014 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

“We’re just getting started with the Android Wear Developer Preview,” wrote Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps on the official Android blog.

He added that because Android Wear works with Android’s rich notification system, many apps will already work well.

“We’re also already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year,” Pichai added.

According to forecasts published by research firm Canalys in December last year, shipments of smart wearable devices were set to rise five-fold over the course of the second half of 2013. Just over 200,000 smart wearable band devices, such as smartwatches, were shipped in 1H13. However, the number shipped in 2H13 was expected to see an increase of more than 500 per cent, said the firm.

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